What Do Physics Theories Describe?

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Theories in physics describe the natural world at the smallest and most fundamental level. Perhaps that description isn’t yet complete, maybe there are inconsistencies to be resolved, but physics is steadily moving towards a comprehensive account of the foundational building blocks of reality; whether those ‘blocks’ turn out to be particles, strings, or some other exotic and as yet unimagined unit. This is, at least, what you might have been led to believe. Hopefully, by the time you reach the end of this article, whatever else you might think of physics theories, you will no longer believe they describe, or even aspire to describe, reality at the most fundamental level.

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Blindsight (4) – The Chinese Room Argument

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This is the fourth and final article in my series focusing on issues Peter Watts addresses in his SF novel Blindsight. In the prior three articles, we have looked at whether consciousness can be considered an impediment, whether it would be worth living in a virtual reality environment, the brain and a range of unusual neurological impairments, and lastly, artificial enhancements up to and including transhumanism. This article will discuss a very famous thought experiment called the Chinese Room Argument and the challenge it poses to the computational theory of mind.

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